60 KIDS ATTEND SPANISH IMMERSION SUMMER CAMPS! – This summer we hosted over 60 students at our Spanish Immersion Camps at the Granite Bay Education Facility. Kids had a ton of fun, making tortillas, learning songs, crafting marachas for an Aztec traditional dance, planting seeds, and competing in Olympic games all en español. We offer Summer Spanish Camps to give kids an opportunity to have fun while practicing their Spanish. Language learning is similar to physical training. If you don’t use it, you lose it! So -vamos a practicar, practicar, practicar… but have fun in the process. Click the photo below to see some photos of the fun kids had this summer:
SOMBRERO TIME KIDS TEACH READING AND WRITING IN SPANISH! – Yes, you read that right! About 15 of our more advanced students became student teachers this summer to help with a literacy project we conducted with the Rocklin Unified School District (RUSD). These kids learned how to teach basic literacy skills in Spanish at breakout sessions during our summer camp. Then they had the unique opportunity to teach K-1 aged native Spanish speakers how to read and write in their own language! These students were attending a RUSD English Language Learner summer school. We grouped Sombrero Time students with 2-3 native speakers to teach for 30 minute sessions on specific reading and writing activities. Everyone benefited from the experience! Sombrero Time students built confidence in their speaking skills and their buddies started learning to read and write in their own native language (something they are no longer taught in school). They also gained a new appreciation for how challenging it can be to teach! Ruth posted a great video as the literacy project ended reviewing some of the highlights. Click the link below:
Are you smarter if you speak more than one language? Great question! There is a ton of research in support of the cognitive benefits that learning multiple languages has on the brain. However, exciting new research is now showing evidence of increased problem solving, enhanced mental focus and better memory retention in Bilingual individuals. Below is an excerpt from a great article published in the NY Times on “Why Bilinguals Are Smarter”.
“SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.
This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.”
Last Month we started a new video series in which Ruth describes her personal journey as a “Special Ed” student with little promise of making it in school and how she overcame to become a successful entrepreneur and owner a thriving education company. If you missed part 1 or 2 of the series click the links below:
Recently we started a new video series in which Ruth describes her personal journey as a “Special Ed” student with little promise of making it in school and how she overcame to become a successful entrepreneur and owner a thriving education company. If you missed part one click the link below:
Today we continue the series as Ruth tells us about being accepted to Davis, graduating as a human development major on her way to being a teacher but still struggling to speak, let alone teach, Spanish effectively. Check out the video and provide your comments below.
How does someone go from being “Special Ed” to Developing Spanish Curriculum? As many of you know Sombrero Time develops Spanish Language Curriculum for K-6 grade students. In a previous series called “Why Sombrero Time Curriculum Works” we discussed a few features that make Sombrero Time Spanish Curriculum unique. What we haven’t done is share a bit about why we develop curriculum in the first place. In order to make it meaningful we wanted to share a little of the real life story behind founder and Spanish Curriculum developer, Ruth Finsthwait. In this new video series Ruth describes her personal journey as a “Special Ed” student with little promise of making it in school and how she overcame to become a successful entrepreneur and owner a thriving education company. In part 1 below Ruth tells us about her early school experience and being diagnosed with dyslexia.
As you know Sombrero Time is where children learn Spanish. Our complete Immersion Methodology and Spanish Curriculum for Kids have all been developed with one goal in mind:
-Create lasting results that allow students to Read, Write and Speak in Spanish!
Sometimes this means we have to be creative and find new ways to get out of the traditional learning environment and into the community. Mix great Mexican food with real life opportunity to practice Spanish and we have a formula for building language skills while having fun! We program events like this into our Spanish Curriculum for Kids because it really helps build confidence as kids mobilize their language.
Last Spring many of our fans and customers helped make our first community event at Más Mexican Restaurant a great success! Continuing with the first of three community events this year we would like to invite you to Family Spanish Night with Sombrero Time. In the spirit of community, fun and language development join us and other Sombrero Time families in the local community as we practice our Spanish with staff at Más Mexican Restaurant, Sombrero Time instructors and each other.
Here are the details:
Date: Monday, October 24, 2011 Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm Capacity: We have room for 150 people for this event Location: Más Mexican Restaurant in Roseville Registration -YOU MUST HAVE A TICKET TO ATTEND! Tickets are FREE and available at Eventbrite.com. Please go to the following link, download and print your tickets before they sell out:
**IMPORTANT** – Seatings: In order to provide faster food service we will be hosting two “seatings” at 5:30pm & 6:30pm. Please register by seating and show up at Más with your tickets in hand!
NEW-Traditional Mexican Folk Dance Lesson! Come learn a few steps from a professional! Our very own instructor Zulema Balderas is also a professional dancer with Campañía Mazatlán Bellas Artes here in Sacramento (http://www.imbasac.com/). Zulema will be demonstrating her craft between seatings.
Ruth and I are routinely asked by parents with toddlers, Pre-K & Kinder students, who are concerned about the “negative” impacts of their children being exposed to multiple languages too early. While these concerns are valid current research actually supports very early exposure to multiple languages and shows positive impact on neurological development. Babies actually seem to have an amazing capacity to adapt and recognize pattern and show accelerated cognitive skills very early on.
Today I read an article from the Seattle Times that underscores this point.
What I found even more intriguing is that research is supporting the idea that language learning happens in a social setting, ie, a class room or between groups of people. Put babies in front of TV or even recorded langauge and they learn nothing. Dr. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, a leading researcher on the formation of language in babies was referenced in the Seattle Times article:
“Previous research by her group showed that exposing English-language infants in Seattle to someone speaking to them in Mandarin helped those babies preserve the ability to discriminate Chinese language sounds, but when the same “dose” of Mandarin was delivered by a television program or an audiotape, the babies learned nothing.
“This special mapping that babies seem to do with language happens in a social setting,” Kuhl said. “They need to be face to face, interacting with other people. The brain is turned on in a unique way.”
If you are a parent and have concerns about multiple language exposure with your child please consider what current research is showing. You may be providing them a great opportunity to advance their cognitive and language development skills during a very short window of time.
To read the full Seattle Times article click HERE.
During this summer we ventured with our 3 kids south of the boarder for a little immersive Spanish experience “R&D”. Since our learning philosophy requires a native speaking environment why not get into the culture in Baja California and seek out some great, family friendly activities that would provide rich language opportunities. Well, we weren’t dissapointed! We spent a week in San Jose Del Cabo enjoying a very authentic experience attending a local school, playing soccer and surfing. Check out the information below and let us know if you are interested in learning more. We plan to go back next year and would love to take some families with us!
SUMMER SCHOOL EN ESPAÑOL – Believe it or not all three of our kids went back to school for a week! The Mission Colegio is a wonderful Dual Immersion private school in San Jose Del Cabo. All students take classes split half the day in Spanish and the other half in English. During our visit we had the opportunity to meet students & teachers and were pleasantly surprised to find that many Americans and Canadians, in addition to Mexican nationals, are attending the school. Our kids made new friends and practiced their Spanish A TON! Check out the Mission Colegio web site and our photos on Facebook.
SOCCER – After school each day we took our kids to a great local soccer camp run by an organization called Pachuca Tuzos los Cabos. The camp director is an ex Mexican Professional Futbol player turned coach. Jesus Romero coaches and grooms players for professional Mexican teams. He also happens to be the PE teacher at Mission Colegio. The camps are run at “La Huerta” a local sports club in San Jose. If you want your kids to learn Spanish, the native soccer Futbol field is one of the best ways to immerse them. Naturally, kids want to play and interact with their peers. Combine English speakers with Spanish speakers on a soccer field and you have a powerful and fun formula to acquire language.
SURF – We ended our week with some more adventure learning to surf. The Cabo Surf Hotel is a well kept secret on the beach as you come into San Jose Del Cabo. The area along the shore is called Costa Azul which is known for some of the best surf breaks in Baja. The hotel has comfortable amenities, quiet rooms, a great restaurant called the 7 Seas Grille and surf lessons provided by our new friend Miguel Rojas at the onsite, beach front, surf shop. The Cabo Surf Shop features one of the only professionally certified “Mike Doyle” surf schools in Baja. We had a great time learning from the friendly, knowledgeable staff and everyone caught waves! If you are ready for a great warm water surfing adventure Miguel and his staff are prepared to coach you in Spanish or English!
During our recent family vacation to Mexico we had the opportunity to explore a great dual immersion primary/secondary school called Mission Colegio. This private school offers all subjects in both Spanish and English with separate language instructors at each grade level. The campus is set in a beautiful area with top notch facilities, friendly staff and promotes a strong ecological value. We spent five days visiting with instructors and staff learning about the school while our 3 kids attended classes from 8-2pm each day. Suffice it to say we had a ton of opportunity to speak Spanish and make new friends. One of the things we discovered was how so many students and teachers are true global citizens. We talk about creating global citizens here in the States but do we really understand what that looks like? Ruth and I had the opportunity to interview one of the instructors at Mission who really fits the description. We will be sharing more information about how you can visit this school in the future. For now, check out the video and let us know what you think:
One of the greatest benefits to learning a second language is what it can do for your travel experience. Many of us have traveled to Mexico, stayed in a resort and enjoyed some good food, beautiful beaches and warm water. But, how many of us have really experienced the local culture up close and personal? How cool would it be to play soccer in Mexico, with people who live and breath the sport, all while practicing the language? How fun would it be to take surf lessons at a surf camp and get some hands on language experience at the same time? You see, when we engage anyone in their language, on their home turf not only does it honor them and create relationship, it also allows us to gain perspective and appreciation for how other people live. All this comes together to enhance your travel experience.
So, starting tomorrow Ruth & I are taking the family south of the boarder to plug into the culture and do exactly what I have described. We will be visiting Cabo San Lucas and Cabo San Jose over the two next weeks. During our time we will be playing fútbol at a soccer camp with Mexican nationals and taking surf lessons at a local beach. As part of our experience we will be seeking authentic, fun & family friendly activities that YOU can do in the near future. Sound exciting? Stay tuned by visiting our Facebook page and Twitter feed.